(3) Pablo Carreno-Busta def Norbert Gombos 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-3It needed two and a half hours for the 3rd seed to pass over the promising Slovak Gombos, but in the distance the more solid and less risky game of the Spaniard resulted into a good win and a place in the semifinals of the ATP Challenger of Cordenons.
Huge credits are to be given to Norbert Gombos though, who kept fighting for every point until the very end, even when many others would have given up. The Slovak played a good match and was satisfied with his game, though he admitted he wasted too many chances in the second set.
In the first set Carreno-Busta was the first one to break, but the Slovak could break back after a few games and in the end it was necessary to play a tiebreak to give the set and there the powerful game of Gombos let him dictate the rallies and in the end win the first set.
The constant pressure put on the Slovak by the amazing defense of Carreno and probably a bit of frustration for the mistakes adding one to another by the need of breaking the wall that was put up by the Spaniard -and probably a little of that given by the annoying cheering on his mistakes provided by Busta's dad- started to weight on Gombos shoulders and on the other side of the net the Spanish seed kept his calm and by risking very little went on winning the next two sets.
Potito Starace def. (Q) Janez Semrajc 4-6 6-4 6-2It's been a terrific run the one that the young Slovene had lived here in Cordenons (you can find two interviews with him in the previous posts), starting from being unseeded in the qualies he reached the Quarter-finals and today had a lot of chances to go further by playing an awesome match against a very inspired Potito Starace. The Italian, who himself didn't have a good year so far, seemed to have found his game this week and sailed up to this match, but eventually found a great opponent on the other side of the net.
Janez started very solid from the baseline, dictating most of the points, but being able to make Potito play extra balls when forced into defence. The Slovenian could also count on a strong and solid serve and that helped him to keep the break conquered early in the first set, up to finally take the first set 6 games to 4.
The second set started with a very bad moment of lack of focus from Semrajc, who found himself fast down 3-0, but eventually tied it up to 3-all. Starace started to feel the pressure of being on the verge of an upset from a much lower-ranked player in front of the home crowd and tried new ways out, because his baseline game was simply useless against Semrajc. The Italian bad moment channelled in a warning given for a ball being sent probably in the swimming pool a dozen meters outside of the stadium, but that reaction lead to a change into his game, he started to rush more to the net and use a lot of dropshots to take the Slovene out of his comfort zone. The last games of the set where the quality-wise best of the match, but despite his chance, Semrajc couldn't close it and in the end it was Starace who found the right acceleration to take the set and level the score.
As Janez said after his match, by the end of the second set he started to feel tired and his legs didn't react as fast as he hoped for, but in the third set everyone could tell and Potito tried his best to take advantage of that, by forcing Semrajc to chase a lot of balls and on the other side of the net, the Slovene started to go for winners earlier in the rally in the desperate attempt to shorten the rallies.
The final game summed it up with Semrajc serving 4 big serves, making one silly mistake on a basic putaway and finally being broken from 40-15 up. Starace's reaction for this win wasn't as much of an example to follow as most of kids watching deserved to see, with the Italian giving one last loud fist-pump after the hand-shake.